The stage is set: ‘Sarah, Plain and Tall’ to open Jan. 17 at Butterfield

Colt Hazel and Cassie Newton portray the main characters in “Sarah, Plain and Tall” during rehearsals. The Butterfield production opens Jan. 17.

Butterfield Stage community theater will transport spectators to the early 1900s with its next production starting Jan. 17.

“Sarah, Plain and Tall” depicts a family in need of a mother and the woman who gradually fills that role. The widower, a Kansas farmer with two children, places a newspaper ad for a wife and in response receives a letter from a woman describing herself as “plain and tall” and saying she’ll come by train to stay for a month and see how things work out. The story of that month is narrated in flashback by the widower’s daughter on the eve of her wedding.

The cast includes first-time Butterfield actors Kalee and David Owens, who portray a married couple, and their son Sean. The family has lived in the Gainesville area for about three years, according to information from the community theater organization, but haven’t stepped onto a stage since their college days.

“I had met a few people from Butterfield and we just truly enjoyed the people, the atmosphere and the building itself,” Kalee Owens said in a press release. “Everyone we met who worked with Butterfield was kind and genuine and that made us feel comfortable with getting involved. Our son is autistic and we thought that this would be a good opportunity for us to help him experience theater without the fear of having to do it alone.”

She said autism can be socially crippling for some and “doing theater would give him an outlet where he doesn’t feel pressured to socially interact.”

“My biggest hope is that Sean will discover that his costume isn’t something that only has to be on stage,” she added.

Owens said she and her husband were pleased with how similar their roles are to their real-life personalities.

“I love that David and I are getting to build a new type of camaraderie together,” she said in the release. “This may sound cheesy, but he is my best friend and it is fun to experience something with him that we both have such a passion for.”

David Owens said he hopes his role in the show will inspire his grandchildren to step out of their comfort zones.

“Sometimes children can be shy or nervous when it comes to doing something new or different, but it makes it easier for them if they see someone they love doing it and having fun,” he explained in the release.

The show is directed by Craig Hertel. Other cast members are Cassie Newton, Colt Hazel, Shea Hook, Sam Warren, Terry Colquitt, Rachael Perkins, Emily Tarrant, Claire Warren, Casper Norwood, Deserae Pouncil and Ruthanne Eddleman.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 17, 18, 24 and 25, as well as 2:30 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 19 and 26.

Tickets are $15 for adults or $10 for ages 10 and under. They’re available online at www.butterfieldstage.org or by calling the box office at 940-665-1284.

Butterfield Stage is at 201 S. Denton St.

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